Into the storm: Roanoke to Albuquerque

Wildorado, Texas

One recent experience I won’t forget for awhile happened on the first leg of our return trip to Northern California from the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas. It was the end of July, and Texas, much like California, had been in a drought for some time. The weather during our stay was relentlessly hot and fairly muggy. So when we saw dark clouds and felt a few sprinkles as we started out that morning, we were actually pretty pleased.

I caught a quick (and blurry) glimpse of The Big Texan along I-40 in Amarillo

The skies cleared as we entered New Mexico

Our original plan was to stop overnight in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. It’s less than two hours from Albuquerque, and the Big Guy had suggested we take a bit of time and visit the Route 66 Auto Museum. But as we neared Santa Rosa, he realized we were now on Mountain Time (so it was 2:50 pm instead of 3:50), and he didn’t want to stop “so early.” We continued on toward Albuquerque amid ever-shifting clouds and occasional light rain showers.

We soon rather ominously started seeing more and more dark clouds on the horizon to our right, with some occasional flashes of lightning that made an impressive sight; I tried and failed to capture a shot of the lightning.

West of Santa Rosa; maybe we should have stopped, after all?

Dark clouds and dry pavement near Wagon Wheel, NM

Thus far, the weather had been interesting but nothing we hadn’t seen before, and we were still making good progress towards Albuquerque, about 30 minutes away at this point. But only a few more miles down the road we suddenly ran into a rainstorm so severe we could scarcely see anything beyond our own windshield. I was really glad the Big Guy was driving instead of me! Thinking quickly, he put on the emergency flashers, but with so much water dumping down and unable to clearly see what the other cars were doing, we could only sit in one spot for a minute or two. Eventually, we were able to move over to the right shoulder (where I shot the photo below), and we waited until the worst of the cloudburst had passed.

World coming back into focus after a blinding rain

Luckily we were pretty close to Albuquerque by this time because we were both totally done with driving for the day! After this major cloudburst, the weather seemed to be done, as well, and things settled down and the sun even made an appearance. After this experience, we were just a little bit relieved to head back into the California drought.

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